2003 Conference Proceedings

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INTELLICURRICULUM ACROSS THE TOOLS

Presenter
Rick Metheny
Assistive Technology Specialist
Allegany County Public Schools
108 Washington St.
Cumberland, MD 21502
Phone: 301 759-2056
Email: rmetheny@allconet.org

One of the most difficult challenges faced by teachers today is educating students with disabilities or who have diverse learning needs to achieve outcomes expected of all students (Metheny, 1997). The reauthorization of the IDEA emphasizes correlation of the general education curriculum to goals and objectives identified in students‚ IEPs. Judith Heumann, Assistant Secretary of the OSERS, writes, „IDEA '97 underscores the fundamental idea that students with disabilities should be learning what other children are learning in school. Schools will be required to assume greater responsibility for assuring that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum.š (Heumann, Hehir, 1997). Currently, as local school systems move toward providing educational services in inclusive settings, it has become clear that students with disabilities or who have diverse learning needs may be at a serious disadvantage unless some innovative approach incorporating the use of assistive and instructional technology is employed (Merbler, Hadadian, Ulman, 1999).

The IntelliTools Classroom Pack (IntelliTalk II, IntelliMathics, and IntelliPics Studio) comprise a set of curriculum modification tools which many educators and school systems use to present differentiated instruction to students with special needs. Their ease of use and flexibility make them a top choice for designing and building curriculum adaptations and congruent activities and their built in features define the standard for creating custom student access. Additionally, regular education teachers find the software to be "just good software" applicable to virtually all students, including traditionally slow learners who may not qualify for special education.

Each of the applications in the Classroom Pack can be used alone however, each are built on the same underlying platform and design of palettes and items. A feature that is often overlooked by users is reusing a palette created in one tool in another. For example, after reading Grandfather Tang's story, I created an IntelliTalk II activity with a palette using animals from the story. Students could demonstrate comprehension and retell the story by using a "fill in the blank" format in IntelliTalk II. I added that palette to my library and reused it in IntelliMathics to create 12 different math based activities related to the story. Finally, I reused the same palette in IntelliPics Studio to create interactive, multimedia activities tied to the curriculum and extending from the same book. With minimal effort, I used the features of the Classroom Pack of software to create an accessible unit of activities that spanned language arts, mathematics, science and art.

The session I am proposing could be conducted in either a one-hour presentation or as a two-block lab session. As a one-hour presentation, the format would be "show and tell" beginning with the presenter previewing a spectrum of activities across the Classroom Pack created to support students in primary grades, looking at how they were designed to support access and curriculum congruence. We will then "take apart" a variety of activities and demonstrate technically how to use the Classroom Pack together. Participant packages will include step-by-step directions for using IntelliTalk II, IntelliMathics, and IntelliPics Studio to develop accessible units of study.

A lab presentation would follow the same initial format but lead into a directed step-by-step activity wherein participants would create an accessible unit using the same palette across all three applications.

In either format, participants will leave with an understanding of how to use IntelliTalk II, IntelliMathics, and IntelliPics Studio to create unified activities that support the general curriculum. This is at least an intermediate level workshop and will benefit participants most who can already create in IntelliTalk II, IntelliMathics, and IntelliPics Studio.

In summary, the palettes play nice together! Each of the applications in the IntelliTools Classroom Pack (IntelliTalk II, IntelliMathics, and IntelliPics Studio) can be used alone. However, each are built on the same underlying platform and design of palettes and items. A feature that is often overlooked by users is reusing a palette created by one tool in another tool. This session will explore using the features of the Classroom Pack of software to create an accessible unit of activities that span language arts, mathematics, science and art. Participant packages will include step-by-step instructions and a web site to download and share activities. This is an intermediate level session and participants should be comfortable creating items and palettes.

References

Metheny, R. Curriculum Adaptations: Improving student success. Closing The Gap, Microcomputer Technology in Special Education ., (16) 3

Heumann, J., Hehir, T. (1997, September) Believing in Children - A great IDEA for the future #38 & #34; Exceptional Parent. Oradell, NJ

Merbler, John B.; Hadadian, Azar; Ulman, Jean. Using Assistive Technology in the Inclusive Classroom. Preventing School Failure; v43 n3 p113-17 Spring, 1999.


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